A year ago I declared that Alice Munro is awesome, that it is shameful I haven't read more of her and that I would definitely read more of her soon. But then I began the process of tearing down my life in Toronto and rebuilding it in San Francisco. It's not a great excuse, but it took me until now to read another of Munro's collections.
I enjoyed "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" every bit as much as "The Love of a Good Woman." Each story was a delight to read (even those of darker tone) and it is becoming clear to me that Munro has a knack for the unexpected and the subtle. In this collection I particularly enjoyed "Floating Bridge" and "Nettles" for reasons so personal I don't know how I'd begin to describe them even if I was so inclined.
I have three more collections of Alice Munro on deck, but I intend to interleave other books into my reading and not binge on the works of this amazing woman. I feel there is value in having other works in my mind for comparison. Reading this collection after Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot" made stark the notion of context I discussed in my post for that book. While I have almost no context for 19th century Russian literature I have a ton for Alice Munro's work. Many of her stories are set in Southwestern Ontario where I have spent most of my life. The descriptions of people and places are so familiar to me that I am instantly drawn in to the stories. It's fantastic.